Saturday, March 1, 2014

Starting over

About this time last year, I had my first DNF.  A DNF is when a runner 'did not finish' their race.  It was NOT something I wanted to do, but at about 1.99 miles on my Garmin, my left foot screamed STOP!  And I did.  I tried to ignore it, but I couldn't even get to that 2.0.
I was working on a quarter marathon and had recently been having some issues with my left foot.  I had just completed an almost four mile 5k the previous week and was so proud of myself for sticking it out and running the entire course, (which just happened to be little bit off its mark). I had picked up some weight, so just figured that was all it was.  I had to call one of my friends to come and pick me up.  I hobbled part of the way back and she met me halfway.  I was heartbroken as I stood at the finish cheering on my friends and other finishers.

I continued to try periodically to run, but aside from an occasional training run with intervals, I was not having much luck. I had gone immediately over and purchased some very cushioned and comfortable running shoes to ease some of the pressure.  Iced, rolled, stretched, elevated, protected, cushioned and on and on.  Every time I would think I was almost there, it would remind me I wasn't.

Months went by and as I would attempt to run, or even try to get miles in with walks, I just wasn't getting any better.  I went to a professional and had them assess the injury. Confirmed, a pretty nice case of plantar fasciitis.  He also confirmed this could take a very long time to heal and that I was doing everything right.  I would need to be patient and continue doing what I had been.  He suggested orthotics as had some of my friends.  I wasn't in a position to go to a specialist, nor could I afford the specially fitted orthotics.  He understood and gave me another option.  Go to my running store and ask for their running orthotics specifically for plantar fasciitis, which I did right away.  They removed the inserts from my cushioned shoes and inserted the orthotics.  Heaven!  And for a whole lot less money!!  If it didn't improve, I knew at some point I was going to need to see a specialist.

I continued to wear the inserts everywhere, everyday.  Slowly, but steadily, my hobble became less pronounced.  I began to limp a little less each day.  Over the next month or so, I really noticed an improvement, so I began wearing regular shoes, which seemed to be first.

The pain came back and I was absolutely crushed!  I had to start over again.  I began again and you would think I had learned my lesson, but no, of course not.  I stopped wearing them and it came back.  This time I put them on and left them on!

Gradually, it stopped always being at the back of my mind.  I became able to walk fairly normally again.  There were times I didn't even remember there was an issue, but each morning I would lace up my cushioned gel shoes with the special orthotics before I did anything else.  While my left foot was on the mend and getting all the attention, apparently my right foot felt jilted and decided to get in on the action.  I began having the same issues now with my right foot as I had been having with my left foot when the trouble first began.  I tried to stave this off by doing everything I had learned over the past year.

I had really packed on quite a bit of weight and this certainly was not helping the issue at all.  I decided to set a goal date of March 1, 2014 to begin my training again, from the very beginning, as if I had never been a runner.  Never done a triathlon, no warrior dashes, no night time trail races, no half marathons.  A beginner in every sense of the word.

I began really looking forward to this date!  I almost jumped the gun a couple of times, but my feet needed the rest and the time.  I continued to pamper both feet, but was very concerned that my right foot was going to be a problem.

I woke up this morning and it was March 1st, 2014!!  My right foot hurt.  I wasn't pleased, but I was still excited.  I wanted to try.  I pulled out an old pair of shoes that did not have my orthotics in them, but they are my favorite running shoes and they have a LOT of support.

After getting a few things done around the house, I felt I was stretched out enough to comfortably attempt my first training session.  The plan was to start with my 5k training program.  I would be working to achieve my most perfect running mile to date.  The goal, to get to a sub 10 minute pace, even if it is 9:59.  And then as the weight comes down again, I know the speed will increase.

I began my warm up walk.  I started very slowly to get a feel for my right foot.  The left foot seemed to be holding its own and even eager to begin running again.  Mentally, it couldn't be soon enough!  I felt familiar twinges in the right foot.  Oh no, I thought, please no, not again.  I continued very slowly.  For day one, there was a warm up walk, then 4 sets of 2 minute run/3 minute walk intervals, then a cool down walk.

It did feel amazing, as it always does, to be running again.  It was tougher with the additional pounds, but it still felt great!  So I continued, cautiously optimistic.  As the runs would begin, I felt myself getting back into a rhythm, but continued to keep the pace nice and easy.  At a 15 minute run pace, I felt that was a good place for me to be on this first day back.  I kept the walk intervals around a 20 minute pace or even slower.  There was a 5 minute warm up and cool down.

In 30 minutes, I had only gone 1.5 miles.  I couldn't believe it, but then I thought....I CAN'T believe it!!  I am finally training again!  I am running again!  I got in one and a half miles today!! Whoo-Hoo!!

Baby steps over time will add up to some great big steps for me and today's baby steps were a pretty big deal!


  1. So proud of you. You have a heart of a great warrior! I will pray for you!